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Great conversation generated by this post. Helpful to read the comments here.

The assumption that any one person manages or "owns" the customer relationship certainly hinges on what is being sold and what the business strategy requires.

During my 5 years as an Internet business strategist for a Web development firm I acquired the client relationship but it was actually a team effort between me and my assigned project manager in the nurturing of the relationship.

Our project managers shared in a portion of the commission since they advanced development projects and often brought new projects to the firm as they listened for opportunity.

More and more the "lone sales person" model has to give way to some sort of team sales model especially in complex B2B sales.

Thanks Valeria for giving birth to this conversation.

Keep creating...worthy dreams,
Mike

@Joe -- yet some companies do not have enough people paying attention to customers. I agree with you that marketing and sales should be in agreement and alignment to present a united team.

@Greg -- my favorite sales people are great listeners who give lots of space. Not sharing references may hurt your ability to do PR and marketing (case studies, testimonials, etc.) with your most satisfied customers. That might be good competitive juice for the sales person, I'm not sure it serves the business well in the end as the customer is not a "personal" customer, it's the company's customer. The comp plan is key. Thank you for jumping in here. I know you do a lot of work around this subject matter.

Valeria, the most accomplished salespeople I know tend to be likeable people, but do not focus their energy on getting customers to like them. They focus on increasing their business and personal relevance to the customer and to the customer's organization.

Whether sales or marketing should have the next conversation with the customer really depends on what works best to build mutual trust, value and relevance.

In more complex relationships, both customers and suppliers increasingly prefer tighter alignment. If you are rolling out a multi-year initiative, close alignment across a variety of functions is simply good business.

Regarding your friend who won't share references, if the culture is ultra-competitive (even internally) and that's what will create performance, then terrific. In a newer firm where references are scarce, then a more collaborative approach may make more sense. Either way, leadership needs to tweak the comp plan and be clear about expectations and why.

Sales nearly always responds to comp plan adjustments within, oh, maybe 90 minutes of when they are published.

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